“The precautionary principle has been married with another EU deformity: its slow, rigid, legalistic ethos, and its 190,000 pages of near-irreversible Acquis. The two together have reinforced each other in a paralysing fashion. This regime is perfect for vested interests that know how to play the Brussels game and manipulate the regulatory committees. The zero-risk code can be mobilised to shut out rivals and new technologies that pose a commercial threat.”
“It is also true that the precautionary principle has made inroads into Anglo-Saxon societies. But only up to a point. The US, the UK, and Canada still cleave towards the ‘innovation principle’, a preference for trial-and-error and a willingness to risk failure along the way — ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’”.
“You could argue that this philosophy has its roots in English Common Law, a legal culture that loosely permits behaviour unless explicitly forbidden by statute. It is fundamentally different from Napoleonic law that prohibits behaviour unless explicitly authorised – “guilty until proven innocent”. Legal scholars will object to this contrasting schema but it contains a nugget of truth.”
“The innovation philosophy also has roots in the Baconian Method: the scientific interrogation of facts: the bottom-up empiricism of Francis Bacon and his followers, from Newton through to the Scottish Enlightenment, and beyond. There are great Baconians in Continental Europe of course, but they are not dominant.”
“What is dominant is the top-down Cartesian Method instilled into the French civil service, and through them into the EU’s machinery. It has fused with the zero-risk totemism of modern Germans to produce a precautionary monster, and a long list of destructive policies.”
“The vaccine saga has driven home the point that the British people really are different animals from Continental Europeans, a cultural distinction that dates back at least 700 years and one that is amply explored by Cambridge anthropologist Alan MacFarlane in The Origins of English Individualism. This island Sonderweg is not a myth.”